Books: Bridge between Nations

DOCTORS EAST, DOCTORS WEST (278 pp.) —Edward H.Hume, M.D.—Norton ($3).

Snake meat was good for rheumatism, otter's liver for tuberculosis. For sore eyes, a fine salve could be made from bears' gall bladders. If dubious of such tried-&-true remedies, the ailing one shuffled down the street to get a heavenly diagnosis from an astrologer, or spiritual advice from one of the local fortune tellers. There was not much point, said the Chinese, in a foreign doctor coming to Changsha to open a foreign-style hospital.

But young Dr. Edward Hume, of Yale and Johns Hopkins, had been sent to Hunan Province to do just...

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